SiriusXM’s Investment into Pat McAfee is Risky as History Warns

Pat McAfee debuts on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio next week, as Outkick has been reporting.

SiriusXM is reshaping its flagship sports lineup around McAfee. More importantly, sources say, the satellite service inked McAfee to a lucrative licensing deal. Meaning, McAfee will retain ownership.

There are several concerning elements here.

The Pat McAfee Show isn’t likely to move subscriptions for SiriusXM, which is the internal hope. The entire show simultaneously will air free on McAfee’s YouTube page. Furthermore, in video form, and with a YouTube subscription the audio plays in the background akin to a radio experience.

It’d be puzzling for anyone to merely pay to hear McAfee on SiriusXM. Imagine how many subscriptions the service would lose if Howard Stern was available, at the same time, for free with a better experience? The answer is countless. (McAfee does not have close to Stern’s reach.)

DAZN quickly found out the same. For much of the year, DAZN paid to air McAfee’s show behind its paywall. Sources say the viewing count was limited, as again, viewers chose the free version on YouTube. In May, the two sides parted ways.

Additionally, SiriusXM’s decision comes at an internal cost. As Outkick reported, there was pushback by at least one person employed by the channel that McAfee’s style didn’t fit with the lineup’s all sports content. A concern that was valid. The channel went through with it anyway and cut an hour of the morning show and moved stalwart Adam Schein back an hour. In the process, Mad Dog lost Danny Kanell and Steve Torre’s daily radio show.

The signing also puts Nick Wright’s future in jeopardy. Wright has campaigned to move up from his 6-8 p.m. time slot with 1-3 eyed. Now, there is not a spot for Wright to move up to. It’s unclear if Wright will remain with the lineup at all.

Sources also add that the lack of communication over the course of negotiations with McAfee disgruntled several employees at Mad Dog Radio. Bizarrely, after learning what Outkick was reporting on, a SiriusXM PR rep stopped responding to email inquiries.

Most alarming of all, there is a belief around the industry SiriusXM’s marriage with McAfee won’t last.

In the past three years, McAfee has run through several different employers, for one reason or another. He had short stints at Barstool, Westwood One/CBS Sports Radio, and DAZN. The Pat McAfee Show doesn’t last anywhere long. There is a pattern. Can SiriusXM be the outlier? If not, this process will prove to be disastrous.

To interview Bobby Burack, contact him on Twitter @burackbobby_.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

3 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. Radio listeners are creatures of habits and we as a whole are curious creatures indeed. For years if not over a decade, Jim Rome’s clones (myself included) are willing shell out the mighty dollars (when the subscription model was unheard of) to be an insider in order to have “exclusive” content behind a paywall that is actually free on the radio (and can be found archived in YouTube and other fan sites). People might join Sirius just wanting the convenience of having McAfee on their Sirius dial rather than logging onto YouTube.

Leave a Reply

to comment on this post. Not a VIP? Signup Here